Evolution is Not Destiny

This post is part of a series about covenant marriage. After reading yesterday's post about two married people who left their spouses, Hendy of technologeekeryhad a question: Why are humans inclined toward romantic monogamy? Heck, there might even be genes for monogamy and an inclination toward cheating! Interesting findings. I by no means think genes = predetermination. My genes would have me hoard fat (especially) and sugar because historically they were more likely to benefit survival... … [Read more...]

This is NOT How Evolution Works

But it's a good primer in some of the most common mistakes from people who are semi-literate in the relevant sciences, so I'm going to go through the problems from a recent post ("Less Mature by Age") by Robin Hanson at Overcoming Bias.The Background Data:Hanson found an article from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that suggested that, although there is an overall positive correlation between age and psychosocial maturity, this trend reverses during the teenage years. … [Read more...]

Natural Moral Theory is Bunk

This is part of a series of posts on gay marriage. You can see all posts in the series at the index.Yesterday, I wrote about the need for religious opponents of same sex marriage to base their objections in facts that are accessible in the secular sphere. Some Catholics maintain that most Christian morality, and sexual morality in particular, are manifestly correct and accessible to all people, whatever their religious background. In a profile in the New York Times, Catholic theologian … [Read more...]

Optimized and Arbitrary (part 2)

This post is part of a series on math and morality. You can see all previous posts in this sequence at the indexLooks like it’s time for a clarification for yesterday’s post.I think David B. is oversimplifying when he says: If a lot of offspring get genes for cooperation and together they are hard-wired build an equilibrium better for all (i.e. what morality does), that would in fact out compete another population without those genes.  I think it’s important to remember that two … [Read more...]

Optimized and Arbitrary

This is one of a series of posts about math and morality.  I'll be getting back to the series soon, but I'm currently pausing to answer some of the questions that have been accumulating.In comments on "On What Evidence?" Crowhill and Charles got into a disagreement about human morality and evolution that I exerpt below.Crowhill: Does there have to be some sort of "objective morality" for a dog to know how he's supposed to behave towards other dogs? Isn't it entirely possible that dogs … [Read more...]

“Only animals can’t help what they are”

For an explanation of what Weatherwax Wednesdays are all about, read the introduction post.This week's Weatherwax quote is also from Carpe Jugulum. This exchange occurs between during the denoument as Granny Weatherwax confronts the leader of the vampire family that has invaded the kingdom of Lancre. “We are vampires. We cannot help what we are.”“Only animals can’t help what they are,” said Granny. The rallying cry of the transhumanist movement is "To be human is to be more than human. … [Read more...]